A Pennsylvania appeals court upheld the right of black Hebrew Israelites to spew hateful slurs at passersby on city-owned property in Philadelphia.
A group from the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge received city permits to speak near the Shops at Liberty Place, where they loudly declare their hatred toward white people and other racial groups and refer to women as whores.
“The scriptures say black woman, shut your damn mouth,” one man shouted at passersby, according to court documents. “That’s what the scriptures say. Learn in silence. The scriptures say learn in silence. You understand? Shut your mouth, black woman. You understand?”
The owner of the nearby high-rise development sued, claiming the group’s demonstrations were a public nuisance – but the Superior Court upheld a previous Common Pleas Court ruling that found the Black Judaism group had constitutional protection.
“This was a fringe organization whose messages, though abhorrent to some, were exercising First Amendment freedoms,” their attorney, James Funt, told KYW-TV. “We are a free society, (and) speech should be combatted with more speech. We don’t want to end up in a slippery slope because we want to chill the speech of another group because it’s more convenient or it’s not offensive.”
Black Judaism is an early form of black nationalism that helped pave the way for the Nation of Islam and similar groups, and adherents believe the Israelites were scattered across Africa and later sold into slavery by enemy tribes.
However, the self-proclaimed prophet F.S. Cherry started a racist “black Jew” church in 1886 and preached that white people were evil and would be vanquished when Jesus returned to earth – which he believed is square – in the year 2000.
According to court documents, group members told passersby they would be “happy” to kill their white children.
“We’ll be happy for it man,” one member said, according to court documents. “When we can take your little white children with them big heads man and them blond — and that blond hair, right, and the blue eyes and smashed they head against the walls man. I wanna catch one coming out the womb and rip him from his feet and take him and smash his head against the damn floor man. Your people did it to my people man. Your people did it to my people I can’t wait to take one of them devil babies man and smash his damn head and I’ma stomp it man.”
Their attorney, however, denied the group intended to incite violence.
“We are a civilized society,” Funt said. These organizations have the right to speak, and everyone has the right to speak back, and everybody should be doing that in a careful, modified, educated fashion. If we do that, we avoid the violence.”
Watch group members speak in this video posted online by ISUPK PHILADELPHIA PA: